Leaving Meals “Unfinished”

So, there’s this interesting study where they made this elaborate soup contraption. My recollection is that they more or less had the soup bowl connected to machinery under the table that would consistently put more soup into the bowl as people ate. They did this to study how people ate, and how much appetite weighed against the sense of having completed the meal. The whole “clean your plate” nonsense seemed to win over, even when the bowl just kept going and going.

People ate a ton of soup. They didn’t seem to notice that it kept filling up. Only a few mentioned that they found the soup particularly filling. Or, to quote the official results, “Despite consuming 73% more, they did not believe they had consumed more, nor did they perceive themselves as more sated than those eating from normal bowls.”

Point being, I overeat for plenty of reasons, but part of it is a semi-compulsive plate cleaning behavior. I’m sure part of that comes from a primal urge, stemming from the eons where food accessibility was far less guaranteed. And I’m sure part of it comes from American culture and the echoes of “There are starving children in China” coming from my childhood. But, obviously, it’s not great as a way to decide what to eat.

Some day, some how, I would like to eat according to my appetite and nothing more (or less). Not for emotional reasons, not to cope with stress, and not because I’m habituated to eating the portion size placed in front of me. And to address that last part, I’m going to resume an old experiment.

Basically, I made it a goal to never finish a meal completely. Something was always meant to be on the plate at the end. It was going well, and I could see the beginnings of a shift in mentality, but it fell by the wayside for one reason or another. Now, I’m going to try to pick it up, dust it off, and continue that practice.

That’s why there are second pictures with my little meal snapshots, showing what I left unfinished.

Anyway. I still feel like I’m clearing a mental backlog of all this stuff, so I’m sure I’ll post again very soon.